Friday, July 10, 2015

Notre Dame Knows Their Game

Today was our site visit to Notre Dame, located in South Bend, Indiana. I was excited that we would be getting to visit another state today, and also eager to see the campus as I'd heard it's very majestic.

Our method of transportation today would be the Greyhound bus. I believe this was my first time on a long distance bus and it was a pleasant experience to observe the changing landscape outside our windows. I think our cohort is fortunate that we have gotten to utilize so many methods of transportation throughout our travels. The two-hour bus ride deposited us at the South Bend station, and from there we made our way to Notre Dame.
The Golden Dome
The beauty of the campus did not disappoint. Most of the buildings are a tan brick that reminded me of fancy houses, and the multiple quads are full of lawn space and deciduous trees. The notable Golden Dome was also a spectacular sight.

The Notre Dame information session was led by Shannon Kelly, an alum and admissions officer. She started the session with a brief introductory video, and then moved on to explaining Notre Dame's system, residential life, and academics. The group at the info session today was relatively large, so Shannon also answered a lot of questions. The Mendoza School of Business was a major talking point, as many of the prospective students were interested in business and accounting and Notre Dame's program is top ranked.

Dan led our tour of Notre Dame. The weather was somewhat warm, so it was nice that our tour moved at a leisurely pace. Besides explaining the basics, Dan also delved in to the history of Notre Dame. He had many stories about Ted Hesburgh, an influential man in the development of Notre Dame. He also shared many aspects of campus culture, including the Catholic presence. One nod to Notre Dame culture I found amusing was "touchdown Jesus", a giant mosaic of Jesus visible from the football stands. I thought this was significant as it included football and religion, two prominent features of the school.
Touchdown Jesus
I was impressed by Notre Dame's emphasis on service and participating in initiatives that are greater than one's self. It sounds like many students are involved in service projects, both in the surrounding community and abroad. The value of service was definitely stressed in both our information session and tour of Notre Dame, and I wonder if this focus is at all related to the service ideals of Catholicism.

So much green!
Residential life was another key component of Notre Dame culture, and a very unique one. Notre Dame doesn't have Greek life, but their dorm communities are very close and involved. Freshmen are required to stay on campus, and a large percentage of students choose to live at Notre Dame beyond freshmen year, which is a testament to the positive dorm experience. The residential system is also different in that there is no segregation between classes or interest, although the dorms are all single sex. Roommates are assigned randomly and not based on preference sheets at all. I found all this information about the residential situation intriguing, and I believe it has a special impact on the Notre Dame lifestyle.

With each site visit, I think I am starting to recognize the ways in which presentations can target specific students and the ideas that go into creating an informative and appealing college tour. Growing more familiar with the college recruitment and admissions process is shaping my perspective as a prospective student in ways that are increasing my confidence in terms of college applications and decisions.

Like WashU, the Notre Dame tour also provided us with a meal card so we got to check out their dining hall. The food was pretty decent, but I find the environment of food courts overwhelming. Hopefully I will grow more accustomed to them over the next three weeks at UChicago.

After our late lunch, it was time to leave the Notre Dame campus and get on our way back to Chicago. Unlike our previous taxi, the taxi we took to the bus station took us through town, which was interesting because I had mildly felt like Notre Dame was completely isolated.

Once we returned to Chicago, we just had a relaxing evening to rest up for tomorrow. It’s a big day, as we are finally arriving at University of Chicago and moving into our dorms! I’m excited to see the campus, meet my roommate, and see what orientation has to offer.


  1. I’d like to read more about the bus ride. New bus? Old bus? Cramped? Wi-Fi? Noisy?

  2. Tamika, I'm glad you can appreciate the multiple forms of public transportation we have been using, since it's an imperative skill for those who travel often. And Don, not to interject, but the Greyhound experience was pleasant from my point of view. Seats were comfy and spacious with AC, and we left and arrived mostly on time. We did run into a noisy 'character' on the ride back to Chicago, but more on that later....